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World

AFP
January 29, 2020

BBC to fire 450 employees amid 'changing audience needs'

World

AFP
Wed, Jan 29, 2020
BBC to fire 450 employees amid 'changing audience needs'. — Photo

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will fire 450 newsroom employees  as part of its plan to adapt "to  changing audience needs," the media outlet announced on Wednesday.

"The BBC has to face up to the changing way audiences are using us," Fran Unsworth, director of news and current affairs, said in a statement.

"We have to adapt and ensure we continue to be the world's most trusted news organisation, but crucially, one which is also relevant for the people we are not currently reaching," she added.

The BBC, which has an 104 million dollars savings target, said it was spending too much on "traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital".

The "Victoria Derbyshire" morning show will be axed, with other job losses coming from a reduction in the number of films produced by flagship news programme "Newsnight".

Other jobs will be lost at radio station 5 Live, and there will be a review of the number of presenters working for the broadcaster.

It noted that audiences for traditional television broadcasts continued to decline, especially amongst 16 to 34-year-olds.

"The BBC newsroom will be reorganised along a 'story-led' model, focusing on news stories more than on programmes or platforms," said the statement.

"This is designed to reduce duplication and to ensure that BBC journalism is making as much impact as possible with a variety of audiences."

Embattled BBC boss Tony Hall announced last week he would step down in six months'time, as the corporation grapples with a damaging equal-pay ruling and questions over its funding model as new ways emerge to consume news and entertainment.

Hall, 68, who will depart after seven years at the helm, said the BBC needed new leadership ahead of negotiations with the government in the middle of the decade over its future funding and status.

Unsworth insisted that "Auntie", as it is informally known in Britain, had "a vital role to play locally, nationally and internationally".

"In fact, we are fundamental to contributing to a healthy democracy in the UK and around the world," she added.

"If we adapt we can continue to be the most important news organisation in the world," she said.